Around this time two years ago, Adam and I took a trip to the South of France to celebrate my 30th birthday and our 5th wedding anniversary, two milestones that fell within the same week of each other. It was definitely one of those bucket list trips — we fell in love with the beaches, the effortlessly chic style of the people, the fresh seafood, and of course, the rosé that’s made there and famous for being some of the best in the world. As our anniversary approaches this year, I thought it would be fun to rekindle the vibe from that trip by setting a table for two on our back patio, inspired by our favorite South of France spot, the famous Club 55. For this dinner, I teamed up with Languedoc, the largest wine region in France located next to the Mediterranean and just west of Provence, to serve some of their rosés that I’m currently obsessed with — so we could relive the memories, and create some great new ones, too.
*photos by Molly Winters
Languedoc is a beautiful sunny wine region in southern France — and produces wines that pair so perfectly with food. Of course, I’m partial to the rosés, and since these wines haven’t been as discovered as some others by American wine drinkers yet, you can still find incredible wines that are affordable.
Inspired by the rustic-chic design of Club 55, I topped our teak patio table with a simple runner, a few candles, and dishes in shades of blue and white that evoked a beachfront vibe.
The Château Ribaute from the Corbières region of France was one of my favorites on the table. The rosé has a gorgeous apricot pink hue and a fresh and delicate flavor with notes of red berries.
If there’s one fragrance I associate with the South of France, it’s blooming jasmine. When we returned from our trip, we planted climbing vines all around our house, and this year they burst into full bloom. I cut a few stems and gathered in a vase for the table.
Nothing says summer quite like artichokes, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice. These were steamed like the ones we had in France, but I also love this grilled version for when I really want to turn up the flavor.
A drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkle of coarse sea salt are the perfect accompaniments. That and glasses of Domaine de Bagnoles — a refreshing, mildly sweet rosé with notes of pink grapefruit.
A champagne bucket keeps chilled rosé at the ready, eliminating trips back to the kitchen during the meal. The Château Notre Dame du Quatourze evokes raspberry, fruit, and flowers.
My favorite South of France tradition was the long lunch we enjoyed at the beach clubs each day. They were the best spots for people-watching, and I ordered a tuna niçoise salad from nearly every menu — it’s a quintessentially French dish that’s always been a favorite of mine, and the ones I tried there were simple, brimming with the freshest summer produce.
I put my own spin on the classic by using roasted salmon instead of tuna, and asparagus in place of the traditional haricot verts.
They say that scent is the strongest of all the senses in evoking memories, and it’s certainly true for me. Adam gave me this jasmine fragrance for Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago, and it’s amazing how one spray instantly transports me to the south of France.
Have a feeling I’m going to live in this caftan this summer. It’s as comfy as wearing pajamas, but is equally chic for a hostess outfit or swimsuit cover up.
Bon appetit! Serving food family style on big platters in the center of the table makes the table feel lush and abundant no matter how casual the meal.
I set out a few snapshots from our trip that we could look through during dinner to bring back memories of our favorite places.
Click here to listen to my favorite “French lounge” playlist on Spotify. The laid back beats get us one step closer to truly feeling like we’re back at Club 55.
The fact that this is the easiest dessert ever doesn’t make it any less delicious. A scoop of lavender sorbet topped with berries and mint satisfies sweet tooths without weighing you down. And doesn’t the shade of those macarons look gorgeous with the pale pink rosé?
My birthday week just so happens to coincide with the official #LanguedocDay that’s — today! It’s the perfect time to try out Languedoc’s wines — so throw a Languedoc party of your own this summer, follow @LanguedocWines, go find some of these incredible rosés, and let us know what you think by posting about it with #LanguedocDay!